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Kuriga: Federal Government to establish school safety corps

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Men of the NSCDC

The Federal Government has finalized plans to train some newly recruited personnel of the Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps in 36 states and the Federal Capital Territory as the School Safety Protection Squad to halt cases of abduction of schoolchildren from their schools.

The Commander of the National Safe Schools Response Coordination Centre of the NSCDC, Hammed Abodunrin, disclosed this in an interview with The PUNCH Newspapers on Sunday just as the Defence Headquarters said troops rescued 137 abducted pupils of the LEA Primary School and the Government Secondary School Kuriga in the Chikun Local Government Area, Kaduna, within Zamfara State.

The Defence Headquarters announced that 137 Kaduna schoolchildren were rescued but it did not explain what happened to the remaining as 287 pupils were kidnapped from the schools on March 7, 2024.

This came as President Bola Tinubu welcomed the news of the release of the Kuriga schoolchildren, as well as the release of pupils of a Tsangaya school in Sokoto State, commending all the parties involved in the feat for their valiant efforts.

The Safe School Response is an initiative of the Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps in response to increasing cases of attacks on schools by bandits.

The National Safe Schools Response Coordination Centre was established by the Federal Government and saddled with the responsibility of coordinating safety and security responses against violence in schools and host communities.

Providing updates on the steps taken by the government to halt cases of abductions of pupils from schools, Abodunrin said, “The Federal Government has declared zero tolerance on kidnapping for ransoms and has resolved to empower security agencies more to prevent reoccurrence. Equipment is being procured, such as vehicles, motorcycles and ICT facilities while more personnel are being employed to tackle the challenges squarely.

“For instance, the centre will soon train some of the newly recruited personnel of NSCDC across the 36 states of the federation and FCT as the school safety protection squad. This team will be able to provide a quicker response when needed. They will work with the corps’ female squad nationwide as well as with the police and military resources where available and when required.

“These problems did not just come in a day. Solving them will follow processes but the most important thing is that actions are being taken fast.”

He also noted the corps and other paramilitary agencies had begun security education, adding that “the NSSRCC has commenced community engagement to build confidence and capacity of the members of the community.

“The centre is also collaborating with relevant stakeholders on child protection. The centre is being repositioned to improve on the deployment of technology to obtain quick information especially where there’s no network. State and local government centres are to be established by relevant authorities with timely information and quick response.”

The commander linked kidnapping to inadequate installation of closed-circuit televisions by schools and the poor use of technology.

“The most challenging issue is the lack of security culture. How many schools have identification cards for their students? How many members of staff care to know the number of pupils/students in their schools? Even when you ask some principals in the middle of the term, they will tell you they will check records.

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